EASTER IV (C)
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. – John 10: 29
“You’re in good hands” says the ad for a well-known insurance company. The logo that goes with it is a pair of giant outstretched hands that cradle a house & car. This concept could have very well been borrowed from today’s Gospel reading. Jesus is saying, in effect, that we’re in good hands with the Almighty!
A Gospel song says, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” True enough: He wrote the first chapter of the world’s history, & He will write the last chapter. But in this passage Jesus is referring specifically to those who believe in Him. He speaks of my sheep, those who hear my voice: “I know them, & they follow me.” In other words, through our relationship with Him, we who follow Him are held securely in the Father’s hands.
Now, to be in the strong hands of the Almighty does not mean that only good things will happen, of course. Christians are not protected from all the terrible things that can happen to anyone. God does not prevent these things from happening any more than the insurance companies prevent their clients from wrecking their cars. We just know that nothing can happen that God does not already share with us through the body of Christ.
“I give them eternal life, & they will never perish,” says the Lord to His followers. This insurance policy is in force for all eternity, & no insurance company can make that claim. It means that nothing can harm us ultimately. Only Jesus can claim that we are not just in good hands, but the best hands, the mightiest hands. These are the hands that created the snowflake, the atom, & the hurricane. These are the hands that formed a billion galaxies & set each of them in place. Paul asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8: 31)?
Trusting ourselves to a reliable insurance company gives us a measure of temporary security against some of life’s hazards. But it requires money in the form of premiums. Placing ourselves in the hands of the Almighty also has a price tag. Grace may be free but it isn’t cheap. We must trust Him unconditionally:
“So do not worry & say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ … Your heavenly father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God & His righteousness, & all these things will be given you besides” (Mt. 6: 31-33).
In this familiar passage from the sermon of the mount, our Lord is telling us that to experience that security that GOD is offering us, we’ve got to order our priorities in a certain way. We must center our life in the kingdom or rule of God, & exclude anything that prevents us from doing so.
We may be wallowing in depression, experiencing great physical or emotional pain, a terminal disease or going through a time of doubt & questioning our faith. We may even feel that we are completely alone – deserted by family or friends. Yet, in these experiences of darkness, St. John of the Cross assures us that the mighty hands of God are indeed there offering support. Nothing can ultimately defeat us if we trust enough to rest securely in the hands of the Good Shepherd.
A frightened child refused to go to bed during a thunderstorm. His mother said, “There’s nothing to be afraid of, God will take care of you.” The boy replied, “I know, but He can take care of us better if we’re all together than He can if He has to keep running up to my room.” “But God is in your room,” said his mother, “& He can take care of you up there.” The boy reluctantly started off for bed, but soon reappeared at the head of the stairs. “Mama, you come up & stay with God. I’m coming downstairs.”
Jesus has a better idea. He wants us all to come up & stay with God. You are in the best hands with the Almighty! AMEN!